A few weeks ago to my amazement, Orval was no longer available in Iceland. This was ofcourse a huge loss, because as everybody remotely familiar with beer culture, Orval is the best beer in the world! Although gone from my shelfs (and my fridge!) I did not lose myself in suicidal thoughts, other decent beers were still available and just as long as I had access to Duchesse De Bourgogne, I considered myself safe.
Last week, that feeling of beer-safeness was gone, as I bought the last bottles remaining in the country. No more Duchesse De Bourgogne!
The decline of selection in the monopoly stores here in Iceland are a disgrace. Imagine yourself a country without Chimay, without Orval, without good mainstream beers that are available all over the world, like Hoegaarden, Franziskaner, Duvel, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Leffe Brune and so on..
Maybe I´m being naive. Iceland only inhabits about 300,000 people so the market isnt big. In the year 2007 I personally bought over 40% of all the Westmalle stock the country had to offer!! Maybe the ancient beer ban which was lifted on 1989 is to blame, people only drink lager! And maybe, and perhaps the most likely factor in this is that our currency is quite shitty, and due extreme taxes (technically we are bankrupt!), alcahol does not come cheap! The price of wine has gone from 1900 kr for a decent bottle of french bourgogne wine to a whopping 3000 kr! Same is to say about beer, when Delirium Tremens was first available in Iceland, it costed about 290 kr, the last bottles were sold last year for about 800 kr !!
Wherever you are, consider yourself lucky compared to being a beer enthusiast in Iceland...